Six climbers on Mount Rainier are presumed dead after apparently being caught in an avalanche or rockfall.
The climbers were reported missing late Friday afternoon, and searchers spotted climbing equipment and other gear strewn along the slopes near their last known location, according to Mount Rainier National Park officials on Saturday.
The sighting was at about the 9,000-feet level of the 14,411-foot mountain.
Officials said it’s highly unlikely that any of the climbers survived.
The names of the climbers weren’t released, but officials said the group was organized by Alpine Ascents International, a Seattle-based guide service.
The apparent mishap occurred on the Liberty Ridge route for ascending the mountain.
The number of fatalities would be the second-highest in the mountain’s recorded history of climbing accidents. Eleven people died in 1980 in an icefall on Ingraham Glacier.
(Read more in the June 4 edition of The Dispatch).